by William Teach | April 11, 2015 8:11 am
No longer can we just watch a show and be entertained: we must now consider the implications of Serious Issues And Stuff
Has ‘Game of Thrones’ Affected the Way People Think About Climate Change?
Winter is coming, but no one seems to care. Sound familiar?
An invisible force threatens to destroy life as we know it, yet society remains largely indifferent. A small group of devoted soldiers, who know the true strength of this threat, warn us of the horror to come. But alas, their warnings are to no avail. Sound familiar? Fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which returns this Sunday for its fifth season, will surely think of the Night’s Watch. For the uninitiated, those are the black-clad warriors who struggle to convince the rest of the realm that everyone is in imminent danger. Ignore the fact that the source of that danger is some zombie-like creatures called White Walkers, and and it might start to sound like something that we’re grappling with in our own dragon-less world: climate change.
In 2012, Arizona State University’s Manjana Milkoreit was struck by the meaningful dialogue transpiring online about the overlaps between Game of Thrones and climate change. These bloggers weren’t simply talking about the show, Milkoreit tells me, but instead were using metaphors to instigate real political conversations—conversations about responsibility, indifference, activism, and the future.
Fans of the show have surely connected the dots already, but the metaphor goes: Winter and the merciless White Walkers represent climate change; the Night’s Watch—the only people who know the extent of the horror Westeros will soon face—are climate scientists; and the status-obsessed capital city of King’s Landing represents an ignorant and inactive public and/or government.
People tend to have a very limited imagination about what a climate-changed future might look like. Even climate thought leaders and scientists lack imagination when looking forward, she says. But shows like Game of Thrones, while filled with dragons and magic, spark meaningful dialogue.
Of course, said dialogue never actually leads to practitioners of the Cult of Climastrology practicing what they preach.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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